VisionLink Blog

By Ken Gibson

February 01, 2016

Performance: There's a Framework for That


Performance is an elusive commodity in business. Few think they have enough of it. Less can adequately quantify it.  All enter each New Year wanting to improve it.  Talent strategies are formed, pay programs are adjusted and the business model is tweaked, all in an attempt to solve this mystery. However, for too many organizations the secret formula for improvement is never uncovered. This occurs because they haven’t yet formed the right framework for engineering sustained success within their businesses.  So let’s fix that, shall we?

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By Ken Gibson

January 21, 2016

Private Company Pay: The 3 Most Common Mistakes


If you lead a private company you probably often feel stuck when it comes to pay practices.  It likely starts with the frustration you feel about an inability to accelerate growth as quickly as you think is possible.  And you feel like every time you put your foot on the gas pedal those around you are putting theirs on the brakes. Right?

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By Ken Gibson

January 15, 2016

"Incentives" Even Daniel Pink Could Endorse


There has been a long-running debate about incentive plans and whether or not they “work.” It usually centers on one central question: Can incentives measurably and positively influence employee performance?  While many in business assume it’s conventional wisdom that such plans have a meaningful impact, some assert otherwise. These opposing voices have been challenging the assumptions many business leaders hold regarding human motivation in the workplace. 

 


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By Ken Gibson

January 07, 2016

Battle Armor for the Talent War


In the late 1990s, Steven Hankin of McKinsey coined the phrase “the war for talent.” The intent of that label was to warn businesses that a talent shortage was imminent and that if companies didn't engineer a focused effort for recruiting, retaining, and developing key employees they would be vulnerable. Well, as the late Yogi Berra famously observed: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

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By Ken Gibson

December 23, 2015

The 4 Top CEO Talent Concerns for 2016


VisionLink works with CEOs of private businesses all over the United States (and some outside those boundaries). Our work focuses on aligning pay with the organization's vision, business model and strategy. As a result, we develop a pretty good sense for what CEOs and other enterprise leaders are thinking about the future of their companies.  What we've heard,  observed and experienced is validated by recent empirical studies. For example, PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey revealed these chief executive talent, recruiting and retention concerns in its own research commentary:

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By Ken Gibson

December 16, 2015

4 Pay Strategy Commitments to Make for 2016


 New Year's Day has come and gone.  You've “closed the books” on 2015.  It’s time to turn the page, look forward and...(insert your favorite cliché here).  So…as you anticipate the coming year, what will be different in your business? What will improve? How will your growth goals be met?  Will you bring on new talent, increase results expectations for current producers or raise standards of performance in other ways?  If so, what role will your compensation strategy play in that effort? And how will you know whether your pay approach is having the impact you want? 

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By Ken Gibson

December 04, 2015

Transform Employees into Growth Partners


CEOs don’t want employees. They want growth partners.  Let me explain.

A couple of years ago I heard a CEO speak at a conference of HR professionals who were there to learn how they could add value to the chief executive of their companies.  At the outset of his presentation, the business leader told the audience about a conversation he just had with a neighbor friend who was an unemployed CFO. The neighbor told him he had recently interviewed for a position he was confident he was qualified for and with a company that was a good fit for his background and experience. He didn’t get the job. He was perplexed.

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By Ken Gibson

December 01, 2015

4 Tips for Balancing Salaries and Incentives


If you run a business, you want to pay people the least amount possible while still achieving maximum performance, right? You also want your employees to have an ownership mindset and be effective stewards of the outcomes their role should help the business achieve, correct?  Likewise, you want your people to focus on driving the revenue engine of the company so this year's targets can be met while simultaneously moving towards the growth goals you're trying to achieve, agreed? Finally, you'd like to minimize guaranteed pay and tie as much of your employees' compensation to actual results as possible, am I right?  

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By Ken Gibson

November 24, 2015

Employee Retention…and the #1 Reason People Leave


The good news is that most organizations communicate an optimist outlook about their expansion.  The bad news is those same businesses are concerned they won’t be able to retain and attract the employees they need to achieve that growth.  And guess what?  Inadequate compensation ranks as a primary reason employees are leaving for other opportunities. 

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By Ken Gibson

November 17, 2015

What Millennials Want in a Pay Plan


In my past couple of blogs I've talked about rules for paying millennials and how to turn your millennial pay plan into a marketing strategy. So what's next?  Well...perhaps we should talk about what it is that millennials are actually looking for in a pay plan. What expectations do they have and what is the best way for you, as a company leader, to respond to those expectations without actually turning the keys of the business over to this employee constituency?

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By Ken Gibson

November 04, 2015

Turn Your Millennial Pay Plan into a Marketing Strategy


I recently participated in a roundtable with other business leaders to discuss issues facing our organizations and get feedback from the group.  One company president expressed this frustration: "We installed a profit sharing bonus plan for our employees and it absolutely bombed." Another in the group immediately asked, "What's the age range of the employees in your business?" "Most are between 23 and 35," was the response. "There's your problem," the questionner asserted. "Millennials just don't care about money. That's the reason it failed."

Millennials don't care about money. Really?  It's that simple?

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By Ken Gibson

October 27, 2015

5 Rules for Paying Millennials


Millennials are growing up...and have taken over majority status in today's workforce.

According to new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data: "More than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials (adults ages 18 to 34 in 2015), and this year they surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce." As a result, if you lead a company, odds are you have a significant block of employees who fall in this category within your organization. 

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By Ken Gibson

October 21, 2015

Why You Need the Right Balance between Short and Long-Term Incentives


In his Strategy+Business online column, Ken Favaro said this:

Peter Drucker once wrote that the manager’s job is to keep his nose to the grindstone while lifting his eyes to the hills. He meant that every business has to operate in two modes at the same time: producing results today and preparing for tomorrow.

 

But “preparing for tomorrow” really means investing in the future, an expensive and uncertain proposition. It demands taking an incremental hit to today’s performance in exchange for an unguaranteed payoff. Meanwhile, you have to meet your previous promises of big gains to have the wherewithal to continue investing. But that wherewithal will soon be lost if meeting those promises means forgoing new investments that are essential to future results. Drucker’s dictum is not only an acrobatic feat, but a managerial one as well.

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By Ken Gibson

October 15, 2015

Finally, Guidance on Performance Pay!


"What is performance pay...and how do I get it to work in my company?" 

In different forms, that question has been asked by leaders of every kind of business for a very long time. It stems from the recognition that if a pay plan isn’t helping fuel company growth there’s a good chance it’s hindering it. There’s not much middle ground.  Well, finally there's an answer to the question.

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By Ken Gibson

September 22, 2015

"What, Exactly, is a 'Fair' Pay Strategy--and Why Should I Care?"


Who likes being called unfair? Raise your hand. A desire to be considered fair is in our bones and to be called unfair is considered one of life's ultimate insults. We instinctively sense unfairness when we experience it but bristle when when the charge is leveled against us.

Fairness in compensation, however, is a topic almost no one seems to want to really talk about. How can we objectively determine if a pay plan is fair and do we even want to "go there?" Well, with all the talk these days about income inequality, businesses really can't avoid the subject any longer. The media and politicians are highlighting it constantly and employees are becoming more sensitive and verbal about what they perceive to be inequities in their compensation. So what do you do?  

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CLIENT SUCCESS STORIES

"VisionLink has helped us successfully navigate a number of complex issues regarding our rewards programs. It has dealt with all facets of these varied issues with a high degree of competence, integrity, and straight forward advice. VisionLink's experienced team has consistently delivered first class results in a timely, professional manner and has become a valued Storm partner."

Thomas K. Grzywacz
Storm Industries, Inc.

"VisionLink has helped us successfully engineer a long-term incentive plan that has empowered our company to reward and retain key talent while increasing shareholder value. The knowledge, patience and deep experience of its team members helped us navigate a road that was unfamiliar to us. Ultimately, VisionLink designed a plan that met the high standards of both stockholders and key management employees. We have further engaged VisionLink to address our business succession and transition planning needs."

Reggie Dupre'
Dupre Logistics

"Over the past several years, National Technical Systems has engaged VisionLink to provide insight and direction on a number of executive compensation issues, as well as a performance evaluation of our 401(k) plan. Under its direction, NTS completely revamped executive level rewards to align with our business growth objectives and the strategic plan of the company. VisionLink's insight and direction have been invaluable. NTS has achieved its growth objectives and our executives feel appropriately rewarded for their performance."

Bill McGinnis
National Technical Systems

"VisionLink arrived on the scene just in time for us. We needed a new framework for our short-term and long-term incentive plans. VisionLink's modeling and forecasting process broadened our horizons and expanded our view of how to use a good incentive system to build, retain and strengthen our senior management team. We remain impressed by their expertise, professionalism and great service."

James Keng
Jimway, Inc.

"Our firm has had a long-term incentive plan for over eight years but we never quite felt like it was firing on all cylinders. We hired VisionLink to re-energize our plan, and they did it! We now have a cohesive awards strategy that's fair to shareholders and valued by our employees. VisionLink's team is technically skilled and very creative. We're happy to recommend VisionLink to firms looking to upgrade their management incentive programs."

John M
FTO Inc.

"Our company was like VisionLink's typical clients. We were great at sales and haphazard at how we compensated our people. VisionLink's process brings great clarity and confidence to our growth planning - and makes compensation a great growth capability."

Dan Sullivan
Strategic Coach ©

"The team at VisionLink helped our company structure a long-term incentive plan that parallels the company's strategy for continued growth as a global market leader within our industry. Their approach resulted in a program that our corporate team and executives embraced on both a professional and personal basis. Through VisionLink's guidance and execution, we were able to create both a motivational tool for current team members and a recruiting device to attract future executive level associates. Well done!"

Mark Rhoades
Fluidmaster, Inc.

"As a leading direct seller of scrapbook photo albums and supplies, Creative Memories has independent consultants across the country. And for over six years now, VisionLink has helped us to stay connected and administer a voluntary 409A non-qualified plan for them. VisionLink has provided support for all aspects of our plan from notification of eligibility through registration and distribution. The VisionLink support team has offered suggestions for improving processes and provided us with outstanding service year after year."

Guy Walker
Creative Memories North America